Panama City, Panama is an exciting destination full of vibrant culture, beautiful beaches, and thrilling attractions. If you’re looking to visit on a budget, don’t worry, there are still plenty of cheap things to do in Panama City!
This comprehensive guide will provide you with the top 10 affordable activities and attractions so you can experience this amazing city without breaking the bank.
Here’s a quick overview of the top 10 cheap things to do in Panama City: visit the Causeway, walk around Casco Viejo, see the Panama Canal Miraflores Locks, explore Parque Natural Metropolitano, stroll Avenida Balboa, go to Playa Bonita, see the ruins of Panama Viejo, visit the fish market, shop at Albrook Mall, and take in the view from Ancon Hill.
Visit the Causeway
One of the top things to do in Panama City, Panama on a budget is to visit the Causeway. This iconic landmark is a must-see for both locals and tourists alike. The Causeway is a four-mile long road that connects Panama City to four small islands in the Pacific Ocean.
It offers stunning views of the city skyline, the Panama Canal, and the surrounding natural beauty.
Admire the Views
When you visit the Causeway, be sure to take the time to admire the breathtaking views. The panoramic vistas of the city and the ocean are truly awe-inspiring. Grab your camera and capture the beauty of the sunset over the water, or simply enjoy the scenery with your own eyes.
It’s a perfect spot for a romantic stroll or some solo reflection time.
Go for a Jog or Bike Ride
The Causeway is also a great place to get some exercise. Lace up your running shoes or rent a bike and hit the trail. The wide and well-maintained pathway is perfect for jogging or cycling. As you make your way along the Causeway, you’ll be able to take in the sights and sounds of the city while getting in a good workout.
It’s a win-win!
Have a Picnic
If you’re looking for a cheap and enjoyable way to spend a day in Panama City, pack a picnic and head to the Causeway. There are plenty of grassy areas and benches where you can set up a blanket and enjoy a meal with friends or family.
Take in the fresh ocean breeze, soak up the sun, and indulge in some delicious food. It’s a simple pleasure that won’t break the bank.
For more information on the Causeway and other affordable activities in Panama City, check out visitpanama.com. They have a wealth of resources and recommendations to help you make the most of your time in this vibrant city.
Walk Around Casco Viejo
One of the top things to do in Panama City, Panama is to take a leisurely stroll around the charming neighborhood of Casco Viejo. This historic district is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is known for its beautiful architecture, vibrant atmosphere, and rich history.
Whether you’re a history buff or simply looking to soak up the local culture, Casco Viejo is a must-visit destination.
See the Historic Architecture
As you wander through the streets of Casco Viejo, you’ll be treated to a visual feast of historic architecture. The neighborhood is home to beautifully restored colonial buildings, with their colorful facades and intricate detailing.
Marvel at the blend of Spanish, French, and American architectural styles that reflect Panama’s diverse history. Don’t forget to bring your camera – this is a photographer’s paradise!
Visit the Casco Viejo Plaza
At the heart of Casco Viejo lies the Plaza de la Independencia, a bustling square that serves as the social hub of the neighborhood. Take a seat on one of the benches and watch the world go by, or join the locals for a game of chess.
The plaza is also home to several historic landmarks, including the Metropolitan Cathedral and the Palacio Municipal. It’s a great place to relax, people-watch, and soak up the vibrant atmosphere.
Go to the Panama Canal Museum
If you’re interested in learning more about one of the world’s most famous engineering marvels, a visit to the Panama Canal Museum is a must. Located in Casco Viejo, the museum offers a fascinating glimpse into the history and construction of the Panama Canal.
Explore interactive exhibits, view historical artifacts, and gain a deeper understanding of the canal’s impact on global trade. It’s a great educational experience for both kids and adults alike.
See the Panama Canal at the Miraflores Locks
If you’re visiting Panama City, a trip to the Miraflores Locks is a must-see. This iconic location is where you can observe the world-famous Panama Canal in action. Here are a few things you can do at the Miraflores Locks to make the most of your visit:
Watch the Ships Pass Through
One of the main attractions at the Miraflores Locks is watching the massive ships pass through the canal. It’s truly a sight to behold as these enormous vessels navigate through the lock chambers. You can witness the impressive engineering feat and marvel at the precision required to maneuver these ships.
Visit the Museum
While at the Miraflores Locks, take some time to visit the museum located on-site. The museum provides a wealth of information about the history, construction, and significance of the Panama Canal. You can learn about the challenges faced during its construction and the impact it has had on global trade.
The exhibits are informative and engaging, making it a great educational experience for visitors of all ages.
Have a Picnic while Watching the Ships
Another great activity to enjoy at the Miraflores Locks is having a picnic while watching the ships go by. There are designated picnic areas where you can relax, enjoy the beautiful scenery, and have a meal with your friends or family.
It’s a fantastic way to spend a sunny afternoon while taking in the incredible views of the canal and the ships passing through.
For more information about the Miraflores Locks and the Panama Canal, you can visit the official website of the Panama Canal Authority: https://www.pancanal.com/. This website provides detailed information about visiting hours, ticket prices, and other attractions in the area.
Explore Parque Natural Metropolitano
When it comes to cheap things to do in Panama City, a visit to Parque Natural Metropolitano is a must. This stunning nature reserve offers a refreshing break from the bustling city and provides visitors with a chance to connect with nature.
There are several exciting activities to enjoy within the park!
Hike the Trails
One of the best ways to explore Parque Natural Metropolitano is by embarking on one of its many hiking trails. These trails vary in difficulty, so whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a beginner, there’s a trail suitable for you.
As you traverse the lush forest, you’ll be surrounded by breathtaking views of the city skyline and the diverse flora and fauna that call the park home.
See Wildlife Like Sloths and Toucans
Parque Natural Metropolitano is teeming with wildlife, making it an ideal destination for animal lovers. Keep an eye out for adorable sloths hanging from tree branches, colorful toucans perched on branches, and playful monkeys swinging through the trees.
It’s a truly magical experience to witness these creatures in their natural habitat.
Go for a Swim Under the Waterfalls
Another highlight of Parque Natural Metropolitano is the opportunity to cool off in its refreshing waterfalls. After a long hike, take a dip in the crystal-clear pools beneath the cascading waterfalls. It’s a great way to relax and rejuvenate while surrounded by the beauty of nature.
For more information about Parque Natural Metropolitano and its activities, you can visit their official website here.
Stroll Avenida Balboa
Avenida Balboa is a popular destination in Panama City, Panama, known for its beautiful waterfront views and vibrant atmosphere. Whether you’re a local or a tourist, taking a leisurely stroll along Avenida Balboa is a must-do activity.
See the Waterfront
As you walk along Avenida Balboa, you’ll be treated to stunning views of the Panama Bay. Take a moment to appreciate the clear blue waters and the skyline of Panama City. You might even spot some boats sailing by or locals enjoying water activities.
Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the breathtaking scenery!
Avenida Balboa is home to several shopping centers and malls, offering a wide range of retail options. From high-end luxury brands to local boutiques, there’s something for everyone. Take a break from your stroll and indulge in some retail therapy.
You might find great deals and unique souvenirs to take back home.
Grab a Bite to Eat
Feeling hungry after all that walking and shopping? Avenida Balboa is lined with numerous restaurants and cafes where you can satisfy your cravings. From traditional Panamanian cuisine to international flavors, there are plenty of options to choose from.
Don’t miss the chance to try some local delicacies and experience the vibrant food scene in Panama City.
Spend a Day at Playa Bonita
If you’re looking for an affordable and enjoyable way to spend a day in Panama City, head to Playa Bonita. This beautiful beach is just a short drive from the city center and offers a range of activities for all ages.
Relax on the Beach
One of the best things to do at Playa Bonita is simply relax on the beach. With its soft white sand and clear blue waters, it’s the perfect place to unwind and soak up the sun. Grab a beach towel, a good book, and don’t forget the sunscreen, and you’re all set for a day of pure relaxation.
For those who prefer a bit more adventure, Playa Bonita is also a great spot for snorkeling. Put on your snorkeling gear and explore the vibrant underwater world filled with colorful fish and coral reefs. You don’t have to spend a fortune on a snorkeling tour – simply bring your own gear and dive in!
Eat at a Beachfront Restaurant
After a day of fun in the sun, treat yourself to a delicious meal at one of the beachfront restaurants at Playa Bonita. Indulge in fresh seafood, tropical cocktails, and stunning views of the ocean. From casual eateries to upscale dining options, there’s something for every taste and budget.
For more information on Playa Bonita and its attractions, you can visit www.visitpanama.com.
Visit the Ruins of Panama Viejo
If you’re looking for a fascinating and budget-friendly activity in Panama City, a visit to the ruins of Panama Viejo is a must. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is the oldest European settlement on the Pacific coast of the Americas and offers a glimpse into Panama’s rich history.
Walk Around the Ruins
One of the best ways to experience the ruins of Panama Viejo is by taking a leisurely stroll around the site. As you wander through the crumbling walls and ancient structures, you’ll feel transported back in time to the 16th century when the city was founded.
Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the stunning views of the surrounding area.
Visit the Museum On-Site
Located within the ruins, the on-site museum provides a deeper understanding of Panama Viejo’s history. Inside, you’ll find a collection of artifacts and exhibits that showcase the city’s past, including pottery, jewelry, and tools used by the early settlers.
The museum offers insightful information about the culture and lifestyle of the people who once inhabited this remarkable place.
See the Remaining Tower
One of the most iconic landmarks of Panama Viejo is the remaining tower, known as the Cathedral Tower. This tower stands tall amidst the ruins, serving as a reminder of the city’s former glory. Climbing to the top of the tower provides breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding area, making it a must-visit spot for photography enthusiasts.
For more information about the ruins of Panama Viejo, you can visit the official website: https://www.panamaviejo.org/.
Visit the Fish Market
When visiting Panama City, a must-visit destination is the Fish Market. Located in the Casco Viejo neighborhood, this bustling market offers a unique glimpse into the local fishing industry and showcases an array of fresh seafood options.
Whether you’re a seafood enthusiast or simply curious about the local culture, a visit to the Fish Market is a great way to immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of Panama City.
See Fresh Seafood
At the Fish Market, you’ll find an incredible variety of fresh seafood, straight from the Pacific Ocean. From fish like snapper, sea bass, and grouper to shrimp, lobster, and crab, the market is a seafood lover’s paradise.
Witness the skilled fishmongers expertly cleaning and filleting fish or watch as they shuck oysters with finesse. The colorful displays of the catch of the day will leave you amazed at the abundance and diversity of the local marine life.
One of the best things to do at the Fish Market is to try ceviche, a popular dish in Panama and throughout Latin America. Made with raw fish marinated in citrus juice and mixed with onions, cilantro, and other flavorful ingredients, ceviche offers a refreshing and tangy taste that will tantalize your taste buds.
Enjoy a plate of ceviche while taking in the lively ambiance of the market, and don’t forget to pair it with a cold beer or a refreshing tropical fruit juice.
In addition to the fresh seafood, the Fish Market is also a great place to find unique souvenirs. Browse through the stalls and you’ll discover a wide range of handmade crafts, clothing, and accessories that showcase Panama’s rich culture and heritage.
Whether you’re looking for a traditional Panamanian hat, known as a “sombrero pintao,” or a beautifully crafted piece of jewelry, you’re sure to find something special to bring back home as a memento of your trip to Panama City.
For more information on the Fish Market in Panama City, you can visit www.visitpanama.com.
Shop at Albrook Mall
When visiting Panama City, one of the top things to do on a budget is to shop at Albrook Mall. As the largest shopping center in Central America, Albrook Mall offers a wide variety of stores and products at affordable prices.
Whether you’re looking for clothing, electronics, accessories, or souvenirs, you’re sure to find great deals at this shopping paradise.
Visit the Food Court
After a long day of shopping, take a break and indulge in a delicious meal at Albrook Mall’s food court. With a diverse selection of international and local cuisines, there’s something to satisfy every palate.
From savory empanadas to mouthwatering sushi rolls, the food court offers a range of options at affordable prices. Grab a seat, enjoy your meal, and recharge before continuing your shopping adventure.
See a Movie at the Cinema
Looking for some entertainment during your visit to Albrook Mall? Catch a movie at one of the cinema theaters. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the latest blockbusters at an affordable ticket price. Whether you’re a fan of action-packed thrillers, romantic comedies, or animated films, there’s always something showing for everyone’s taste.
Don’t forget to grab some popcorn and snacks to complete your cinematic experience.
Go Window Shopping
If you’re on a tight budget but still want to enjoy the shopping experience, don’t worry! Albrook Mall offers the perfect opportunity for some window shopping. Take a leisurely stroll through the mall, admire the displays, and get inspired by the latest fashion trends.
While you may not be purchasing anything, it’s still a great way to spend time and gather ideas for future shopping trips.
For more information about Albrook Mall and the stores it offers, you can visit their official website here. Plan your visit accordingly and make the most out of your time in Panama City without breaking the bank!
Take in the Views from Ancon Hill
Ancon Hill is a must-visit attraction in Panama City for those seeking breathtaking views of the city and its surroundings. Situated in the heart of the city, this lush green hill offers a panoramic view of the Panama City skyline, the Pacific Ocean, and the historic Panama Canal.
See the Panama City Skyline
From the top of Ancon Hill, visitors can marvel at the impressive Panama City skyline. The modern skyscrapers, including the iconic F&F Tower and the Revolution Tower, create a stunning contrast against the backdrop of the ocean and the surrounding natural beauty.
Don’t forget to bring your camera to capture this picturesque view!
Visit the Historic Sites
Aside from the amazing views, Ancon Hill is also home to several historic sites that are worth exploring. One of the most notable sites is the Miraflores Locks, part of the Panama Canal. Visitors can learn about the history and significance of the canal, as well as witness the fascinating process of ships passing through the locks.
Additionally, there are remnants of the old Panama Canal Administration Building, which served as the headquarters during the construction of the canal.
Go for a Hike
Ancon Hill provides an excellent opportunity for outdoor enthusiasts to go for a hike. The trails are well-maintained and offer varying levels of difficulty, making it suitable for individuals of all fitness levels.
As you hike up the hill, you’ll be surrounded by lush tropical vegetation and may even spot some wildlife, such as sloths, monkeys, and a variety of bird species.
For those looking for a more challenging hike, there is a path that leads to the summit of Ancon Hill, where you can enjoy panoramic views of the city and its surroundings. It’s a great way to get some exercise while taking in the beauty of Panama City.
As you can see, there are tons of cheap and fun things to do in Panama City! With beautiful beaches, lush parks, historic sites, and modern malls, you’ll get a great mix of nature, culture, relaxation, and entertainment, all without spending a fortune.
So next time you’re in Panama City, try some of these affordable activities to make the most of your visit!